Can you compost chicken bones? (Best Guide)

There will be hardly any person who doesn’t like grilled, barbecued, boiled, baked, or roasted chicken. But after consuming the mass, we usually throw the bones away. Ultimately it ends up in landfills, and when it starts to decompose, it generates methane, a major greenhouse gas. So, can you compost chicken bones and avoid that?

Yes, you can, by composting chicken bones, you don’t only making something meaningful from food waste, but you are also saving the atmosphere to some extent. Bones can easily enrich the calcium level of the soil but can bring some additional problems.

Can you compost chicken bones? all you need to know

But by following a special kind of composting system, you can easily compost chicken bones. In this article, we will discuss it in detail. Hope you can make a fruitful outcome from it.

Can you compost chicken bones?

Yes, it is possible to compost chicken bones. To effectively compost chicken bones, you need to follow some specific methods (I have written a detailed guide below); but bones take longer to break down. These bones can attract dangerous pests and diseases or emit very bad odors.

Generally, a non-broken raw chicken bone can take months to years to decompose. But there are several ways to compost the chicken bones, and the most effective way is to use an electric composter.

How to compost chicken bones?

If you are used to composting in a tumbler, you can easily and safely add chicken bones to it. Chicken bones are hollow, soft, and splintery, and compared to other animal bones, these can easily break down. Here we mention four steps you must follow before adding chicken bones to your compost.

How to compost chicken bones

1. Cleaning the cooked chicken bones

Compared to raw chicken bones, cooked bones are easier to break down. But, if you have some raw chicken bones, try to boil them before using them for composting. Adding boiled water to your compost pile is also an option.

2. Drying the bones

You must leave the bones in open dry air for one or two days. It will make these bones completely dry. But if you don’t have much time, you can heat them in the oven at low heat.  

3. Let’s break down the bones

Because of the lack of surface area, the chicken bone decomposing process is very slow. To increase the surface area, you have to break down the bones. You can smash these bones with a hammer or a solid rock.

And if you intend to smash them into a powder, you can grind these bones with the help of a food processor or a simple grinder. To effectively and quickly grind, you have to break these bones into small pieces before placing them in a grinder.

4. Adding bones to the compost

You have to place these bones in the middle of the pile. This is because it is the hottest area of the pile, and the bones will be covered with fragments, and no one can easily identify them; it will especially help you keep your pets away from it.

How to compost chicken bones

5. Compost as usual

You must keep a special eye on the pile every time you turn it. If the entire pile is ready but has one or two pieces of bones left, you can do two things. The first option is to discard it. And the second thing you can do is shift the remaining bones to the new pile. Choose whichever suits you. If you follow these steps properly, your compost will be ready within 2 to 3 months. 

Alternatives to composting chicken bones

Chicken bones can also be disposed of in several other ways. For example, you can bury them or dispose of them in the trash.

Burying chicken bones in the ground is an excellent way to dispose of them. Decomposition will eventually occur. Hence, it is a very effective and easy method of disposing of chicken bones. It is important to bury them away from your common foot area if you decide to bury them. It is advisable to select a different area of your home, such as the backyard or a more remote area. 

Alternatives to composting chicken bones

It is also possible to dispose of chicken bones in the trash. This option does not require any special equipment or setup. If you throw chicken bones away in the trash, they will end up in landfills. And the lack of oxygen prevents them from decomposing quickly. 

Composting chicken bones is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of them. By composting organic waste, nutrient-rich soil is created. By doing so, your garden plants will grow faster and healthier. Chicken bones buried in the ground will have a relatively negative impact on the environment.

In this condition, the decomposing process is slower and more natural. However, throwing chicken bones away in the trash has the most negative impact on the environment. Decomposing them in a landfill takes a long time. They will release methane, a major greenhouse gas, until they are decomposed.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you throw bones in compost?

Yes, bones can be added to a compost pile. But these take a lot of time to decompose compared to other organic materials. To reduce this time to some extent, you have to break the bones into smaller pieces or grind them before adding them to the compost pile. And if the bones are cooked, then it is good, else you have to boil them once. It will speed up the decomposition process.

What shouldn’t you compost?

If you want to maintain the quality of the compost and keep the pests away from the compost, then you need to avoid adding certain materials to the compost. Dairy products, diseased plants, cat or dog feces, coal or charcoal ashes, synthetic materials like plastic, rubber, or metal, etc. You also need to avoid any invasive plants in the compost.

How do you crush bones for compost?

If you add chicken bones to compost, you have to break or crush them before adding them. Before breaking the bones into pieces, you need to confirm that the bone is cooked, or you have to boil them. After that, you need to leave them to air dry completely. Then you can crush them with the help of a hammer or a stone.

Do compost worms eat bones?

Yes, compost worms eat bones to break down any food scraps, including bones. These worms also fastened the decomposition process of these bones.


In conclusion, chicken bones can be added to a compost pile, but it is important to remember that they will take more time to decompose than other organic materials. To speed up the decomposition process of these bones, it is recommended to break them into smaller pieces before adding them to the compost pile.

However, there are other options, such as burying or disposing of the bones in the trash. You need to choose the perfect option depending on the situation and circumstances. Composting chicken bones is an eco-friendly way to recycle organic waste. Overall, composting is a great way to reduce waste and give some valuable nutrients to your garden’s soil.

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